Credible leadership serves others, pope tells cardinals at consistory

By Carol Glatz

VATICAN CITY (CNS) — Defending the weak or hopeless and
becoming a servant to those most in need is the best promotion one can ever
receive, Pope Francis told new and old cardinals.

“None of us must feel ‘superior’ to anyone. None of
us should look down at others from above. The only time we can look at a person
in this way is when we are helping them to stand up,” he said during a
ceremony in which he elevated 14 bishops and archbishops from 11 different
nations to the College of Cardinals June 28.

The formal ceremony in St. Peter’s Basilica began with
Pope Francis, wearing a miter and carrying a pastoral staff of retired Pope
Benedict XVI, leading a procession of the soon-to-be cardinals — in their new
red robes — while the choirs sang, “Tu es Petrus” (You are Peter).

Patriarch Louis Raphael I Sako of Baghdad approached a podium to give
thanks on behalf of all the new cardinals who have been “called to serve the church and
all people with an even greater love.”

The 69-year-old patriarch, whose country has lost an
estimated 1 million
of what had been 1.5 million Christians over the years of war, violence by
extremist militants and economic insecurity, thanked the pope for his special
attention to the plight and struggle of “the tiny flock” of Christians throughout the
Middle East.

“We pray and hope that your efforts to promote peace
will change the hearts of men and women for the better” and help the world
become a more “dignified” place for all people, the patriarch said.

Being made a cardinal, he noted, was not a prize or a
personal honor, but an invitation to live out one’s mission more firmly dedicated
to “the very end,” even to give one’s life, as symbolized by the
cardinal’s color of red.

Their mission, the pope said in his homily, is to
remember to stay focused on Christ, who always ministered and led the way,
unperturbed by his disciples’ infighting, jealousies, failings and compromises.

On the road to Jerusalem, as the disciples were locked in
“useless and petty discussions,” Jesus walks ahead yet tells them
forcefully, when it comes to lording authority over others, “it shall not
be so among you; whoever would be great among you must be your servant.”

good is it, the pope asked, to “gain the whole world if we are
corroded within” or “living in a stifling atmosphere of intrigues
that dry up our hearts and impede our mission,” including those
“palace intrigues” in curial offices.

“But it shall not be so among you,” the Lord
says, because their eyes, heart and resources must be dedicated “to the
only thing that counts: the mission,” the pope said.

Personal conversion and church reform are always missionary,
he said, which demands that looking out for and protecting one’s own interests be stopped, so
that looking out for and protecting what God cares about remains at the fore.

Letting go of sins and selfishness means “growing in
fidelity and willingness to embrace the mission” so that “when we see
the distress of our brothers and sisters, we will be completely prepared to
accompany and embrace them” instead of being “roadblocks … because
of our short-sightedness or our useless wrangling about who is most

“The church’s authority grows with this ability to
defend the dignity of others, to anoint them and to heal their wounds and their
frequently dashed hopes. It means remembering that we are here because we have
been asked ‘to preach good news to the poor … to proclaim release to the captives and
recovering of sight to the blind, to set at liberty those who are oppressed,”
he said.

“Dear brother cardinals and new cardinals,” the
pope said, the “Lord
walks ahead of us, to keep reminding us that the only credible form of
authority is born of sitting at the feet of others in order to serve Christ.”

“This is the highest honor that we can receive, the
greatest promotion that can be awarded us: to serve Christ in God’s faithful
people. In those who are hungry, neglected, imprisoned, sick, suffering,
addicted to drugs, cast aside,” he said.

Pope Francis then read the formula of creation and the
names of all 14 cardinals; each new cardinal recited the creed and took an oath of fidelity to
Pope Francis and his successors.

One by one, each cardinal went up to the pope and knelt
before him. The pope gave them each a cardinal’s ring, a red skullcap and a three-cornered red hat.
The assembly applauded for each new cardinal as the pope stood and embraced
each one, in some cases, speaking to them briefly and privately.

With the new members, the College of Cardinals numbered
226, with 125 of them being cardinal
electors — those under 80 and eligible to vote in a conclave. With this
consistory, Pope Francis has created almost half of the voting cardinals.

The new cardinals are from Iraq, Spain, Italy, Poland,
Pakistan, Portugal, Peru, Madagascar, Japan, Mexico and Bolivia. The current
College of Cardinals now represents six continents and 88 countries.

The 14 cardinals who received their red hats from the
pope were Cardinals:

— Louis
Sako, 69.

— Luis
Ladaria, 74, prefect of the Congregation for the Doctrine of the Faith.

— Angelo
De Donatis, 64, papal vicar for the Diocese of Rome.

— Giovanni
Angelo Becciu, 70, substitute secretary of state, prefect-designate of the
Congregation for Saints’ Causes.

Konrad Krajewski, 54, papal almoner.

Joseph Coutts of Karachi, Pakistan, 72.

— Antonio
dos Santos Marto of Leiria-Fatima, Portugal, 71.

— Pedro
Barreto of Huancayo, Peru, 74.

— Desire
Tsarahazana of Toamasina, Madagascar, 64.

— Giuseppe
Petrocchi of L’Aquila, Italy, 69.

— Thomas
Aquinas Manyo Maeda of Osaka, Japan, 69.

— Sergio
Obeso Rivera, retired archbishop of Xalapa, Mexico, 86.

Toribio Ticona Porco, retired bishop
of Corocoro, Bolivia, 81.

— Aquilino Bocos Merino, 80, former superior general of the Claretian religious

– – –

Copyright © 2018 Catholic News Service/U.S. Conference of Catholic Bishops. All rights reserved. Republishing or redistributing of CNS content, including by framing or similar means without prior permission, is prohibited. You may link to stories on our public site. This copy is for your personal, non-commercial use only. To request permission for republishing or redistributing of CNS content, please contact permissions at

Original Article